These are some of the earliest photos that we have of our daughter Sarah Joy Smedley who will come home to us soon from Guangzhou, China. When I think of all those "lost years", I get a little melancholy, just like any other mom who adopts children at an older age. Think of all those thousands of moments when you respond to your baby's cries that Sarah Joy did not experience. I think the human spirit is marvelous to survive all that loss. Fortunately, Sarah Joy (and Lizzy Grace, home 3 years) come from a loving orphanage and were cared for by nannies who really love them, but it is still not the same as being in a family!
These two were taken in October 2016, after the orphanage got word that Sarah Joy was going to have her very own family! Look at the difference between the top pictures and the others. There seem to be several years between them. Actually, we think she was seven in the top picture and thirteen in the bottom pictures. Why the huge gap? When she was seven, it looks as if her file was prepared for foreign adoption (no one within China would be interested in adopting a child with a visible special need, so sad to say). The gap represents all the years that SHE WAITED.
Let me leave you with a more hopeful way of moving past the sadness and into the joy: Although Sarah Joy's adjustment won't be easy by any means, she will not be alone anymore! She will be supported by every member of her family, a family that God Himself gathered together. God has done a miracle in each one of our hearts to tell us that she is one of us, a Smedley! Our hope and prayer is that not only will she enjoy her own family here on earth, but that she will come to know the One who saves anyone who calls on Him, who adopted us into His family. "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out "Abba, Father." The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are CHILDREN OF GOD."